Wichita music fans are not about to let something as minor as a blazing inferno-like “heat dome” stop them.
Though this summer’s concert series weather has been a little — ahem — sweaty, crowds are still coming, said Sue Pearce, who produces the Sedgwick County Zoo’s summer concert series.
She’s expecting another good crowd Thursday for the Zoo’s final concert of the summer, which will feature Cajun-y blues musician and Louisiana native Tab Benoit. Known for Cajun-laced blues licks and passionate defense of the wetlands of his homeland, Benoit was a one-time regular performer at the Roadhouse before it closed in 2007.
But he still swings through Wichita fairly regularly. He played the Cotillion in April 2009 and again last March, and he has a following of fans who’ve been calling Pearce looking for Wichita hotel information since the show was announced. Pearce says that she keeps the potential for late-summer heat in mind when she schedules her concert series and saves the musicians she knows will bring crowds for later in the season.
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Benoit is one, for sure, she said, as was John Oates, half of the famous 1980s duo Hall & Oates, who performed at the zoo a week ago. He drew a huge crowd, Pearce said, and he noted from the stage how impressed he was that Wichitans not only came out on the steamy night but also got up to dance — a sweaty proposition.
“He had been concerned that no one was going to come because it was so hot,” she said. The zoo actually cools down from the summer heat around concert time, Pearce said. And those who show up early can get a glimpse of giraffes, grizzly bears and flamingos. The zoo concerts typically draw between 700 and 800 people, Pearce said, and this season was no exception, despite the unusually warm weather.
“We are holding our audience,” she said, “and I think that’s a good testimony to the zoo.”
If you go
TAB BENOIT AT THE SEDGWICK COUNTY ZOO
What: The final concert of the Sedgwick County Zoo’s 2011 summer concert series
Where: Sedgwick County Zoo, 5555 Zoo Blvd.
When: Concert is at 7:30 p.m. Gates open at 6:30 p.m.
How much: Advance tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children ages 3 to 11, available at the zoo entrance or online at scz.org.
Tickets at the door on the evening of the concert are $15 for adults and $8 for kids, with discounts for members.
What to bring: Concertgoers can bring their own chairs and picnic dinners. Food and drink will be for sale, including alcoholic beverages. Alcohol may not be brought in.
For more information, visit www.scz.org or call 316-660-9453.
Other summer concerts for non-wimps
WaterWalk concert series: Blue Eyed Soul, 8 p.m. July 29, Main and Waterman streets. Admission is free.
Botanica’s Tuesdays on the Terrace, Botanica, 701 N. Amidon: Cherokee Maidens, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Regular admission is charged for nonmembers ($7 for adults); members get in free.
Tree House concert series, Bartlett Arboretum, Belle Plaine: The Greencards, an Australian bluegrass band, 4 p.m. Sunday, $10 at the door.